The landslide win in Tripura - it has won 43 of the state's 60 seats along with its regional ally - last weekend is the crowning jewel in the BJP's mission northeast, and Ram Madhav told NDTV in an exclusive interview that "with Tripura we are several steps ahead in our northeast push".
He was speaking soon after BJP's Biplab Deb took oath as Tripura Chief Minister at a star-studded ceremony, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and senior party leaders present. His predecessor, Left leader Manik Sarkar, who was chief minister of Tripura for the last 20 years, too attended the oath ceremony. On Wednesday, Ram Madhav and Biplab Deb visited Mr Sarkar to invite him for the function.
The BJP and its allies are now in power in six of the northeast's seven states. Elections in the seventh, Mizoram, will be held later this year. "We will try our best in Mizoram; once we have won in Mizoram we will have the BJP in the entire northeast," said 58-year-old Ram Madhav, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak who was given charge of the northeast after the BJP swept to power at the Centre in 2014. Since then, the BJP has won assembly elections in Assam for the first time ever and set up governments along with regional partners in Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
Elections were also held in Nagaland and Meghalaya along with Tripura and the BJP and its allies managed to form governments there despite much closer contests. In Meghalaya, the Congress was the single largest party, but the BJP quickly gathered its allies, all of who contested separately to stake claim to form government.
Mr Madhav also said, "Our result in Christian majority Nagaland was an acceptance of the BJP beyond its known territory."
He admitted that the BJP had expected to do better in Meghalaya, but was happy for coalition partner NPP that did well in the state. The BJP has won two seats in Meghalaya; it had zero in the last election. It went from zero to 35 in Tripura and from one to 12 in Nagaland.
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